Skip to main content

AnyPen tech by Lenovo lets you use a carrot as a stylus

Perhaps the problem with a stylus or digital pen for tablets is the fact they are yet another tool you need to carry around. For instance, I rarely use my Surface Pro 3's pen, ergo I did not pack it for this trip. What if I had a situation where I wanted to use it? Well, I am out of luck.

Lenovo solved this problem on their Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen technology, which was announced yesterday. Instead of a specialized writing instrument, Lenovo lets you use virtually anything on their tablet: scissors, a knife, pencil, pen, and yes, even a carrot.

Yoga Tablet 2 (8-inch)

  • 15-hours battery
  • 8-inch (1920x1200) IPS display
  • Intel Atom Processor Z3745 (2M Cache, four cores, up to 1.86 GHz)
  • Twin large chamber front speakers with Dolby Audio
  • 2 GB LPDDR3 (64-bit) RAM +16 GB EMMC storage + 64 GB expandable with Micro SD
  • 8 MP AF rear / 1.6 MP FF front cameras
  • Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi
  • Windows 8.1
  • Four modes: Hold, Tilt, Stand and Hang

AnyPen

AnyPen is some interesting technology. In essence, Lenovo has just cranked up the sensitivity to touch, letting objects with a very small profile (e.g. tip of a sharpened pencil) invoke the OS to respond to touch. The real world application means you can use a fat stubby tool or a sharp one for actual brush size changes, or invest in a really high-quality stylus (much like how people buy luxury pens). Lenovo's tech makes writing on a tablet "as intuitive as writing on a piece of paper".

Combined with that handwriting text-entry tool that we showcased before, and Lenovo could figure out this whole stylus-handwriting-tablet conundrum that has plagued the PC industry for years now. Toss this feature into a Lenovo ThinkPad 8 (one of my favorite tablets) and enterprise users could have a killer new tool.

For now, AnyPen will remain with the new 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2, but Lenovo sees this as a long-term investment, meaning it should come to other devices in the future.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

65 Comments
  • That's incredible!! Bet that stuffs expensive. I would rather get Leap Motion to be honest
  • We can do the same i Skype for Windows Phone, using the finger for writing and painting, even on the 920. But okay not everywhere, I think it´s easy for MS to develop this for all there new devices.
  • Carrots aren't that expensive.
  • I was referring to the device my friend.
  • You missed the joke :p
  • No I got the joke, it was just very ridiculous and lame...
  • Now even an rabbit can write with it's carrot,lol
  • By the way, only use "an" before a word that begins with a vowel, well at least in proper English.
  • Isn't this the "super sensitive touch" feature of the L920?
  • Actually, it's not. The normal Yoga 2 they announced a few months ago is exactly the same tablet and is sold for $279. This model just adds the AnyPen technology and is sold for $299.
  • Are you serious?? They just add that tech and its only like $20 more? That's incredible!! I gotta look into this...
  • You mean anything like pe....nothing I'll just use a dil.. ahem pen.
  • Haha! Finish the words man. xD
  • I'd rather he not, and im sure the editors would as well... That is if they enjoy suspending/banning people from their site.
  • I won't.Lenovo made this feature first in portable gen lets give some credit to them ;)
  • Thank you, and yes, they deserve the credit.
  • XD
  • Hahaha you should clean it before using it on that screen
  • It is perhaps indicative of the eternal childishness of men that you posted exactly what most of us were thinking. It sounds like a cool device though. I'm loving the writing ability on my SP3.
  • That's awesome.
  • Yeah, but now yoga users should be ready to have some scratches on their screens. XD
  • mmmmm a knife, that scares me.....scratched screen much!
  • Haha, stuck in the Windows Phone Central era, Daniel? Great insight and coverage of CES! Very interested in Lenovo's upcoming products/features, like WriteIt or AnyPen. When these stylus' and pen options are available, will they only be compatible with brand new Windows 8.1 and 10 devices? Or can they work on older tablets and laptops too?(ex. Lenovo Yoga or P500 Touch(my device) released in 2013) I assume hardware may be a factor.
  • We actually re-shot that, but Mark, ahem, forgot to do the proper re-edit ;) Regarding AnyPen, that seems to be hardware dependent, whereas WriteIt less so. We'll have to wait and see!
  • Thanks for pointing it out! Fixed =)
  • I can see the convenience, but if its a touch screen I can just as well use my finger which I always have on me. When I do use my surface pro stylus its because of features my fingers dont provide on the screen like pressure sensitivity.
  • Wouldn't a pen or pencil make marks on the screen though?
  • Try writing on a glass window and see what happens ;)
  • I just did and that actually blew my mind. I was expecting at least a little line of ink but nop.
  • try writing with a drawing pen
  • Can you still use your finger?
  • This, and what about pressure sensitivity? This is quite important to a lot of users.
  • That's why this is cool, but a no sell for me. Pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. You can't consider it a serious drawing or note tablet when you have to have your hand hovering over the screen all the time.
  • "fat stubby tool..." Looking at you Rodney.
  • Good for tapping on things, but writing might be a problem unless its a quick jot/note; can't rest your palm most likely and using sharp objects may damage the screen, unless they went with some sapphire screen maybe, but doubt that.
  • In order to scratch the screen the object would have to be harder than glass. Metal is softer.
  • I'm not even going to attempt the suggestion of using a knife......
  • Thanks Daniel, sounds that I finally can ditch my Note8 and have a proper 8 inch tablet that can take my handwritten notes. Probably will wait for the ThinkPad 8 though.
  • I have used a plant's stem, a keychain, a chocolate wrapper, a pencil and many other things to operate my Lumia 820.
  • Exactly... This is just "Super Sensitive Touch" that nokia brought in its phones years ago + Hype. Because there is no pressure sensitivity and the brush size did not seem to change with the thickness of the object as seen in the video... a thin tip pen/pencil gave a thick line while the carrot gave a thin line.
  • I was at least hoping Daniel would reference the Lumia feature and perhaps compare, but no such luck. From what I read there is no difference.
  • The CES app for Windows Phone let me know all about gadgets at the show, stick to Windows Phone
  • http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=2c88be05-ca4b-4c98-95f2-f10c1a79edfa AND it's the OFFICIAL CES 2015 app! Yay!
  • I do not see how this is diffrent from or superior to Nokia's "Super Sensitive touch" that has been on its phones for years now. Neither is there any pressure sensitivity nor does the brush size in the application automatically changing based on the thickness of the "Pen"... the carrot gave a thin line while a thin tip pen/pencil gave a thick line(in the video) so i think brush size is just what has been selected manually. Am i missing something...
  • Really wonder how accurate this is.
  • Because you want to eat what's on your touchscreen
  • Or a welding torch ... :P
  • Hahahahaha xD
  • I use my sp3 stylus literally every single day. The sp3 is the best more taking device around, and people almost universally retain information they *write* better than info they type.
  • Then i m pretty sure it will work with what i am gonna use instead of carrot. :P
  • Will it have palm blocking feature like Wacom?
  • I hope it does, that is key for me, otherwise I'll pick up the Encore 2 Write.
  • I'm a bit sceptic. While it's true that it's great being able to use anything as a stylus, but I feel it's gonna be similar'ish to using one of those capacitive "styluses" on any capacitive screen. Sure, you can doodle a little something, but it's not really worth using for anyone who actually wanted to do handwritten stuff. I pretty much always carry my SP3s pen with me. I don't always need it, but I do use it pretty often.
  • There's already ant pencil technology in my Lumia by high sensitivity touch :p .
  • WOW! Just WOW! Does it have palm-block technology? How many levels of pressure sensitivity would it have?
  • Same question, if you can't rest your hand on the screeen, this is little different than having to use a "dumb" stylus.
  • What about pressure sensitivity?
  • AnyPen, yeah, but if you use a Sharpie marker, you're going to have trouble cleaning the screen. Can I use my diamond tip drill bit? Okay, I'm being a bit facetious, just ignore me.
  • What about pressure senstivity ?
  • There won't be any pressure sensitivity. Unless they've hidden some sort of barometer inside the screen, without an active digitizer and pressure sensor that supports it, there is no way of detecting the pressure applied.
  • Sadly, they could have done pressure.  The ZuneHD had pressure sensitive input on a standard hard capacitive screen.  The technique uses the 'softness' of the tip to see changes in the tip size on the screen.  For the ZuneHD, with your finger, pressing harder would make the touch area larger and it would translate this to pressure.  This can also be done with rubber/plastic tip styluses, and even capacitive responsive things like paint brushes.   Sadly, the API from the ZuneHD was pulled out of WP7, becuase it required a bit more tech in the screen controller hardware to sense the 'size' of the point, and is probably lost in this generation of touch devices.
  • Now the one thing that turns me off is that I assume there is no palm rejection like there would be on say the Surface Pro series or anywhere where there is a Wacom or N-Trig pen. Without that, I see no use in a stylus as I've tried it before. If I am wrong in my assumption, someone please let me know ;)
  • I used a tortilla like stytus onces with my L720 and their ultra sensitive touch, I'm not impressed
  • For non-creative types, this is Ok...
      I am amazed that Daniel would travel with a Surface Pro 3 without the Stylus, this is the opposite of how I work.
      There is no pressure sensitivity, or other features of typical digitizer class stylus.    This not only affects artists 'drawing' on the tablet where pressure is important,  it ALSO affects handwriting recognition, as Windows uses the Stylus pressure and stroke information.    
  • Ok. People can eat Stylus now..